The national telephone survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted February 22-23, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports.The reason for the poll is, apparently, that the Supreme Court announced last Tuesday that it would hear the University of Texas affirmative action case. It's interesting to me that the poll is of likely voters. Presumably, public opinion influences at least some of the Justices to some degree. Do we as a people think taking race into account — for purportedly benevolent purposes — is good or bad? There are approaches to constitutional interpretation that would find a place for information like that.
But why should we care in particular about likely voters? Various political candidates need to figure out how to persuade us, the likely voters, to view them in a favorable light. If affirmative action is going to be in the news because of the pending Supreme Court case, candidates will need to talk to us about it, including — if they are running for President — who they'd put on the Supreme Court. If likely voters fret about access to contraception, they may lean toward Obama: He'd better appoint the next couple Justices. But if they can be made to worry about affirmative action — based on that Rasmussen poll — perhaps they'll think: Better give the appointments to Romney/Santorum.